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Wanting to get a close up view of Bare, Jr. I decided to attend the small show at the Satellite Lounge on the eve of their performance with Aerosmith with whom the band had been touring.
The first band of the evening was WD-40oz. Their set was just about as uncreative as their name. The guitarist were both very talented, but at any given moment they were playing a solo even during the parts where there were vocals. This would have been bad for most bands, but for this band, it was the musicians covering up the weak link. The vocalist stood there and didn't really seem like he was trying too much. The band may have been having a bad night, or bothered by the fact that no one was really into their set, but nothing gets people into your set more than giving them the impression you were trying.
After a short break, Bobby Bare, Jr. came through the club carrying his acoustic guitar and that meant the set was about to begin. I was shocked to see a dulcimer player(Traci Hackney) in the band and was more shocked to see him playing scorching leads on it throughout the set. As for the rest of the band, they were energetic, talked to people, and appeared to have a great time.
Bobby Bare, Jr. isn't the greatest singer in the world, but he's a hell of a vocalist. You can feel the emotion of the songs in his voice and get an idea of where he's coming from just in the tone of his voice. I wasn't too familiar with many of the band's songs prior to this performance, but I was truly blown away by most of what I heard.
The highlight of the evening for most of us watching was the fact that they played a few new songs, which are always fun to hear when you see a band live. All the hardcore fans at the front of the stage were lost in the fun of singing along and dancing to the music. If the opener had put forth this amount of energy, they'd definitely had this group of people cheering them on.
The mix of songs were from both of the albums the band has produced, which kept things interesting. While most bands stick with old favorite or new songs, Bare Jr. played almost everything they've ever recorded. The set was full of entertaining moments as Bobby set up a scrolling lighted board which ran through various messages such as explaining that the instrument the man sitting down was playing was in fact a dulcimer and a message reading "this is hear so we don't have to talk between songs." The funniest part of the board was the line "There's not a law against being a rock band in Nashville, Tennessee." It is odd to hear this kind of music coming from Nashville, but refreshing just the same.
I can honestly say I walked away from this show a Bare, Jr. fan and I can't wait until the next time they make it through this area. They put on a fine show and even stayed around afterwards to meet everyone who was there. I was impressed that there was such a great up and comer in the Alt. Country world that had an edgier sound. Definitely something worth seeing again.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.